Zepotha is a cult classic, a horror movie without compare. Even though it wasn’t a widely-seen flick, those that did get the privilege of viewing it in an actual cinema consider themselves very lucky. TikTok has just rediscovered it, and it is easy to see why it has become another TikTok trend. But is all as it seems? Let’s take a look at why it has become THE trend on TikTok. Be sure to read to the end to fully understand the trend.
The Danzic brothers
The Zepotha movie creators, The Danzic Brothers, fell out in a family drama that saw one brother destroy (what he thought) was every last piece of the 35mm film that was in circulation, to spite the other brother.
Just like in their horror movie Zepotha, the Danzic duel ended in a gruesome bloody murder scene that was worthy of a sequel plot to Zepotha itself. The brothers stabbed each other and died in pools of their own blood, three metres from each other.
However, it is thought copies of the movie may have survived. The rare 35mm film copies, if found, could bring the cult classic back to life.
TikTok trend: Why 1987
In 1987 movies that rose to the top of the polls were rather teenybopper in their nature. Flicks like Three Men and a Baby and Dirty Dancing and the Princess Bride were popular for those with mainstream tastes, but for teenagers who wanted more, they were a bit of an old snore.
More exciting offerings came later that year: Fatal Attraction was a psychological thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, exploring themes of infidelity and obsession; Full Metal Jacket was a war film directed by Stanley Kubrick, depicting the experiences of U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War.
RoboCop was a science fiction action film set in a dystopian future and centred around a cyborg police officer, directed by Paul Verhoeven. And of course there was Predator, an action-horror film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a military commando facing off against an extraterrestrial hunter.
But none of these movies, while dark in their nature, came close to the skillful cinematic renderings of Zepotha. And none of them brought out the fear and the suspense, and the pure emotion of Zepotha.
What is Zepotha?
Why was Zepotha different? First, it challenged several norms of the day. The main characters were in a gay relationship that wasn’t discussed, it just was. This for the 80s was truly remarkable. Also, each of the characters were fully developed. All of them. There were no “side characters”, and no mission was a “side quest”. Each character had an established “look” and they fitted well together — a particular skill that the Danzic brothers were known for.
Now that there is talk of a remake, actors in the know are already talking about auditions.
Zepotha represented a mix of genres and styles that captured the attention of audiences in 1987 and have continued to be remembered and referenced in the years since. Also, the fashion of the movie is making a strong comeback.
The TikTok trend around Zepotha has created spin-off fashions.
But also it must be said that Zepotha was extremely atmospheric, and it has everything to do with the way it was filmed. In the 1980s, movies were primarily filmed using 35mm film. Different film stocks had different characteristics, such as grain size, colour balance, and sensitivity to light, which contributed to the overall look of the movies.
The colour palette of movies in the 1980s often featured vibrant and saturated colours, reflecting the trends and aesthetics of the time. This contributed to the overall visual appeal and style of the films. And, film stocks of that era could sometimes exhibit noticeable grain, especially in low-light or high-speed scenes. This grain added a distinctive texture to the images, which is a characteristic often associated with classic 1980s movies.
The way the Danzic brothers used this to their advantage gave Zepotha a dreamy, horror quality that modern horror flicks just have not managed to recapture.
The movie soundtrack was haunting, with songs that only people who saw the film could appreciate. One song in particular, by Emily Jeffi, called “Do You Remember Me?” is experiencing a renaissance thanks to renewed interest in the film.
As the movie is remembered and has started trending again, more and more people are celebrating the movie’s style, music and general brilliance as the best slasher movie ever.
Zepotha characters: Alaine Maxine and Danny
The main characters in the obscure horror movie are Alaine, Maxine, Lydia, Danny, Cole, Rita, and Vincent. The movie centres around them as they struggle to survive while also looking like the coolest people that ever emerged from the 80s. The most famous scenes that are still referenced today are the garden scene, and the carnival scene. The filming of the forest scene was groundbreaking for its day, and it is still emulated by modern cinematographers.
Main character Maxine had bright red hair and sported an alt vibe, while her companion Alaine is a typical 80s girl with brown hair. Maxine and Alaine were in a tense but loving relationship, while Lydia, a goth, was on the outside.
Their “look” was much emulated by numerous schoolgirls in the late 80s and continues to be a vibe to this day.
Then there was Danny, Cole, and Vincent. All became heartthrobs for those select few that got to enjoy the movie.
Danny (the killer) is the person that holds the most attention and intrigue in Zepotha. When Maxine sees Alaine die on the bridge in the chainsaw scene, we see Alaine in a way that transcends 80s fashion. It is here that the audience starts to suspect Danny for the first time in the movie.
Cole, a typical 80s stoner, dies a bit after the discovery scene, and is too high to believe Danny is the killer, which is a lesson to us all. Rita dies in the parking lot scene, Lydia in the bathroom scene, and Vincent dies at the terrifying carnival, which can be seen as a metaphor for how the rest of the 80s panned out.
The main moral question of the horror movie Zepotha was: Why did Danny kill his friends? It is this question that remains relevant throughout decades. But the vast majority of critics and enthusiasts will say that Danny’s motive is rooted in a terribly sad happening from his past that he believes the group is responsible for.
Is Zepotha actually a real film?
Will there be a remake of the horror movie Zepotha? And will the modern version be able to capture the feeling and the true cinematic feeling of the original? It is doubtful.
Why? Because the movie never existed. It was a play by an extremely creative musician to grow interest in her song, “Do You Remember Me?”
That’s right, in a TikTok posted by Emily Jeffri, which has had more than 475K views, she told her fans: “ok so new bit idea: what if we created a fake 80s horror movie called ‘Zepotha’ & started commenting ‘omg u look exactly like that one girl from Zepotha” or “wait, u look exactly like ______ from Zepotha’ on every thirst trap we see. together we will witness new lore develop, main characters will emerge, etc. & we can convince thousands of people that this weirdly titled 80s horror film actually exists.”
The video has sparked a rush of other Tiktokers trying to create new characters to convince others that it is real. This is all in the service of promoting Jeffri’s debut album Soundtrack To An 80s Horror Film. And who is this Gen Xer to spoil the fun!
And let’s face it, the song is amazing and we can all appreciate the hustle. And also, while it is a massive joke, it is, rather warmly and fuzzily, a wholesome joke, and also is marketing done right. We love you, internet!